February 1, 2010 | Sheri Hebbeln
If you work in the wine industry, it’s likely you rely on a number of different technology and/or service providers to run your business efficiently; ecommerce, wine club, point of sale, CRM, email, compliance, fulfillment, accounting, sales and inventory management to name a just a few. It’s no secret that as an industry we’ve been slow to adopt certain new technologies, ecommerce in particular. Aside from the obvious compliance challenges, when you look at that list it’s not difficult to understand why. In some ways, eCommerce for wine can be viewed as what is referred to in the business world as a “discontinuous innovation”. In other words, it requires you to modify some of the other technologies that you rely on. Frankly, it’s not easy to make all of these products work well together. Innovation is a good thing until it begins to impose new day-to-day challenges upon us. To compound the problem, the costs and risk associated with making different software solutions work together often fall to you.
Integrations of disparate technology solutions can be problematic for a number of reasons:
They’re costly in terms of both monthly service fees and integration costs
It’s often difficult for employees to learn all of the intricacies of each new technology
Issues with data integrity and error handling frequently arise
There is often confusion over who to call when things go wrong
Due to the sheer number of solutions on the market today, it’s difficult for any vendor to integrate with each of them
Benefits of an Integrated Package:
A full suite of direct sales tools can provide the answer to a number of these challenges by offering solutions which expedite your time to market and result in cost and administrative efficiencies which allow you to focus on your business. What’s more, it results in a partner who’s in a better position to share responsibility for the success of your direct sales efforts.
This holistic approach to direct sales has a number of advantages:
You gain a service provider with the skills necessary to manage the full lifecycle of your technology, including roadmap development
A stronger partnership leads to a better understanding of your needs, which allows your technology partner to drive innovation and value
A single data repository will more accurately reflect your customer interactions and touch points
You avoid the “Not our problem, talk to the other guys” phone call. Instead, you have a single point of contact across product lines
These are just a few of the reasons I find what we’re doing at IBG so exciting. For one, we’re providing a means for you to lower your cost of ownership just when competitive dynamics in the wine industry have necessitated it. Even more exciting though, is this: by owning the primary pieces of the puzzle, we’re in a position to build a better product. Tighter integrations result in better visibility and better customer management.
At the same time, we recognize that customers often have existing systems or relationships in place which they would prefer not to disrupt, and that the “best of all worlds” implies choice. This is why we believe in fostering strong industry partnerships and working with our clients to develop a solution that meets their needs. The adoption of one technology should not necessarily mean that by default you are locked into another that might not suit your needs. Our fulfillment and ecommerce products are compatible with numerous applications, from POS and ecommerce to fulfillment.
“The art of simplicity is a puzzle of complexity.” Douglas Horton